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Williams Design Studio

Williams Design Studio in Bethany, Ontario

Last week, Jeff and I took a road trip so I could meet some of the local businesspeople in Bethany that I wanted to profile for the blog.  We visited the Guitar Boutique at the Ranch Resort and our second visit was a stop at the Williams Design Studio, on 7A, right in the middle of town.

Art, crafts, metalwork and more

leather sculpture

Leather sculpture
‘Sisters of Andromeda’
by Beverly Williams

It was a strange experience opening the door to Williams Design Studio in Bethany.  Strange in a good way, because as soon as I stepped inside, I instantly remembered visiting the studio at least fifteen years ago.  It was the leatherwork on the walls that triggered the memory, the faces worked into the folds of the material.  I had never seen such art before, or since.

Return visit or not, it was impossible not to feel comfortable with the Williams.  They are warm and welcoming, full of enthusiasm for their art and for Bethany.

I’m neither artistic, nor do I know much about art, but I know what I like, and I like the different styles of the Williams’ artwork.  There are the decorated gourds that are Beverley’s specialty, the leatherwork displayed on the walls, the metal work, the tree structures, each piece with their own style and showcasing Paul and Beverley’s unique vision.

With my parents living in Cobourg, I recognized the Copper Maple Tree Paul created that is hanging in the lobby of the Best Western in Cobourg, with over 800 copper leaves!  There are other Trees created by Paul hanging in the Evinrude Centre, the Omemee Medical Centre and the Millbrook Medical Centre.

Copper Maple Tree

Copper Maple Tree hanging in the lobby of Best Western, Cobourg, Ontario by Paul Williams

Paul and Beverly Williams

Paul and Beverley Williams in their Design Studio

Ties to Bethany

Paul and Beverley Williams have been living in Bethany since 1977.  They had been living in Whitby and during a search for a studio/home outside the city they stumbled across Bethany one weekend.

It felt like home to them.

The Williams Design Studio studio was formerly the Antique Store owned by Norman White, and before that was the Grocery Store and Meat Market.  It seems like fate brought them into the area in the form of the old schoolhouse. that they were interested in.  While they were investigating the possibility of establishing their studio within the schoolhouse, they came across the Antique Store in town.

It seemed like a better fit for the couple.

Renovations are trying during the best of times, but only more so during a extra cold and snowy winter and while Beverly was pregnant.  But they persevered and the result is a studio providing a welcoming look at the talent in the art community of the area.

Paul and Beverly know their history of the area as well as their studio.  Research into Paul’s family history showed that he was a descendant of Michael Sisson, who was one of ten children born to John and Mary, one the founding families of Bethany.  Mr. Sisson made a mark for himself in Bethany by being the first to introduce a new and improved breed of sheep to the area, brought over from Scotland.  As well, Levi Sisson, one of John and Mary’s grandchildren, was an early proprietor of the general store where the Design Studio now is.  That origin wooden building was destroyed along with half the town in the fire of 1911.  The general store was rebuilt, as was the town hall.  So in a way, it was home for them.

Rolling Hills Studio Tour

Rolling Hills Studio Tour
Mother’s Day Weekend
May 11-12, 2013

Rolling Hills Studio Tour and More

Paul and Beverley are artists and do all they can to encourage the development of the area’s art community.  They participate in the Rolling Hills Studio Tour, Mother’s Day weekend, next year which will take place on May 11-12, 2013.  This tour is a must see for the area, since it lets you explore the artists’ studios as you drive through the beautiful rolling hills of Manvers Township.  As well the Williams have their Christmas Open Studio Show, going on now until December 24.  They will be at the Peterborough Garden Show April 12-13, 2013 and taking part in the Lake Scugog Studio tour on May 4-5, 2013.  More importantly, their Secret Garden is open Mother’s Day to the end of September and is worth the drive to Bethany to take a look.  I’m planning on coming back next year to visit and see the water features and fountains.

Secret Garden

Williams’ Secret Garden
Water feature in fairy garden

I really enjoyed the visit to the Williams’ Design Studio and meeting Beverley and Paul.  Their artwork is beautiful and unique and creative and they are the  epitome of what embracing small town life is like.

Williams Design Studio

Williams Design Studio

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